Netflix's Maid Series Highlights A Side Of Domestic Violence That Often Gets Ignored
Here Are 7 Takeaways From The Show
For the most part I've left out specific examples from the movie, but I do include a description of two important scenes. Neither of which is enough to be considered much of a spoiler.
Maid follows a young woman named Alex on her journey to start over with no money, no job, and a two-year-old to take care of. The opening scene starts with Alex carefully watching her boyfriend asleep in bed, as she quickly but quietly grabs a bag and her daughter and proceeds to leave in the middle of the night.
By the end of the series, I was reminded of Jennifer Lopez's 2002 film Enough. The two stories are similar, but their circumstances are different. While their reasons for leaving are the same, the two women have different socioeconomic statuses which force them to handle their escape in very different ways. But in another world, I could see, Jennifer Lopez's character Slim being a mentor to Alex. Telling her one of the most powerful lines of the movie, "You have a divine animal right to protect your own life and the life of your offspring."
Without Giving Too Much Away Here Are 7 Important Lessons That Maid Teaches Us:
1. Emotional Abuse is Abuse- In one scene we see Alex sitting in her local government assistance office trying to figure out where she can sleep for the night.
Alex tells the social worker, "I would really hate to take a bed from someone who's been abused for real."
The social worker asks "Abused for real, what does that mean?"
"Beaten up. Hurt."
"And what does fake abuse look like? Intimidation? Threats? Control?"
This scene shines a light on the fact that emotional abuse is abuse. So for anyone who's unsure or simply thinks "words" don't count as abuse, it does. Even if he didn't beat you up, but if he belittles you, has control over what you do, and generally makes you feel unsafe, that's abuse. Your mental health is being affected, which may not show in the form of physical marks but can be just as damaging.
2. Don't judge women that go back to their abusers- It can take up to 7x before a woman leaves her abuser permanently (a fact I learned directly from the show). Those women are showing an extreme amount of bravery to leave in the first place, but the men they are leaving are not going to just roll over and let it happen. They are master manipulators and know exactly what to say to a woman who is already at her lowest. Sadly oftentimes this leads to the woman returning to the relationship.
3. Not all people on government assistance are lazy- A lot of the time people on government assistance are on it because they need it. It's not as easy as it looks. You have to jump through hoops to prove that you need it and once you have it you have to be extra careful not to make too much money or they'll take it away even though you still need it. Yet even with all that assistance and making just enough from a low-wage job, it's still not enough.
4. Everyone has problems- A nice house, fancy car, and money in the bank does not automatically mean a person's life is perfect. Even those that seemingly have it all are not immune to the human struggles that come with life.
5. Kindness Matters- The most basic thing we can do for another human being is to offer genuine kindness. Even if that kindness is not appreciated in the moment. Think of it as good karma. It'll come back around anyway.
6. You Can't Save Everyone- You can only help someone who wants to be helped. It might hurt your heart to see them self-destructing, but the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging there is a problem. If they can't do that then there's no way you can even begin to help them. Let go of those feelings of obligation, take care of yourself (ie put your mask on first), and be ready to step in once they are ready.
7. Fight For Your Happiness- Don't assume your dreams can't come true because of your current circumstances. If you want it, you gotta drop those negative thoughts off on the side of the road and start moving towards your dreams. We're living in an age where information is literally at our fingertips. Everything you need to know to get to where you want to be is right there. Do your research and then do whatever you have to do to fight for your happiness!
Those are the major lessons I learned from the show Maid on Netflix. In addition to domestic violence, the show also includes themes surrounding mental health, substance abuse, and many other life lessons. It's a really great show and easily binge-worthy, but more importantly, it's a powerful story with a strong message. I highly recommend everyone check it out.
Author's Notes: If you or someone you know are in a situation with domestic violence please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1–800–799-SAFE.
If you are outside of the United States here are some resources:
For Canada: https://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help-2/